Thursday, December 1, 2016

USA 2015 - Day 12 (Part2): Horseshoe Bend

overlooking Horseshoe Bend
From one natural landscape to another, we drove to Page town from Lower Antelope Canyon and back to Horseshoe Bend, the turn-off to which we passed on our way to Lower Antelope Canyon. This is the second natural attraction in Page that has made it to the list of most photographed and most iconic landscapes in the American Southwest. Visiting these two attractions is convenient as they are just about 8 miles away from each other.


AddressPage, AZ 86040, United States 

Getting there: Along Hway 89. Easiest way is to input Horseshoe Bend on your navigation system. If coming from Grand Canyon (south), take the second turn-off which leads tois a bigger parking lot compared to the first one. As seen in the map below.
first turn-off road coming from the south is marked by white lines. S
econd turn-off road leads to a quadrilateral parking lot marked as grey space

Horseshoe Bend is about 1.21km easy walk. Coming from the parking lot there is a slight steep climb on paved road to get to the top of a hill. From there you have a view of the vast canyon and the pathway that leads to the canyon rim. The pathway transitions from paved to gravel then sand and soil. Good walking shoes required unless you want to find yourself carrying footwear not fit for the terrain halfway through the walk. There are several sitting areas here visitors can stop by to take in the surroundings or simply to rest. 
photo stop on our way to see the Horseshoe Bend, the top of which can be seen in this photo.
Cost: FREE

Experiences to share:
We were glad that it was Fall when we planned to go on this trip. What would have been a very unforgiving Summer weather in this open area became tolerable for a little over a kilometer of walking. The sun was out but the breeze was colder.
Here's looking at how far we still had to walk when we started from the top of the hill. The people were like ants walking along the edge of the canyon.

As we walked closer and closer to the edge of the canyon, we could see the shape of the Horseshoe Bend from the top. While we were walking, Kelvin and Ira noticed a bunny and decided to follow as it hopped from one place to another.

Ira took photos of the bunny as it took shelter from the heat.

After walking under the hot sun for a few minutes, we finally reached the edge of the canyon and were rewarded with a view of yet another natural wonder in Arizona.
We quickly looked for a good spot to take several photos of the bend as well as family photos with it. In the photo below, we found a big, flat boulder to sit on and took a test shot.

The Horseshoe Bend was created millions of years ago by the meandering Colorado River that cut through layers of sandstone.

In this one we have gained our bearing and had better poses but sort of cut off part of the main attraction.
This one was an even better place sitting close to the edge of the canyon but taking lots of precaution. When visitors start to crowd the place you have to sit, pose, click and move on. We were lucky that we got to get to the preferred photo spots and we got to sit and soak in the view before the crowds gathered in.

Here's us getting a little bit more daring as we inched closer to the edge of the canyon and dangling our feet out.

More family photos and poses in different angles....

Found another flat boulder, just nice to lie down on and take this shot.

One last photo before we walked back to the car park and called it a day (at least for sight-seeing). 
looking at the path on the way back. It seemed so much easier going down to the edge of the canyon.

still a long way up but we made it before the sun went down

In our original itinerary, we wanted to make a detour to Monument Valley. That would mean additional five hours of travel time. Basing on the past few days of road trip we knew making the detour to see yet another amazing landscape me meant arriving very late or very early in the morning at our hotel. We didn't want to risk it because we were not that familiar with the road and we wanted to have a few hours of sleep in preparation for a planned hike. So we headed straight to Springdale.

The trip was about 120 miles via Hway 89, turning to Hway 9 at Mt Carmel Junction. The road led to one of the park's entrances. This would have been a good drive in broad daylight but the sun had already set and we drove in pitch dark surroundings (except for car's head lights). It was actually quite scary specially because the road zigzagged for about 8 miles in complete darkness. We could just imagine how beautiful the scenery might have been. For that moment though, all we could hope for was that we could through the twists and turns of the Zion mountains safe and arrive at our accommodation with enough time to have a good night sleep.

After what seemed to be a long time of slow driving inside the park that starry night, we finally got to the southern entrance and left the national park on the way to Springdale town center. From our pitch dark drive we came to a town lit up with festive Christmas decors. From Christmas lighted trees to decorative lanterns to giant Christmas trees along the road. It was a welcoming sight and we decided that we would drive back to that area as soon as we have checked in! Yes, the night which we thought we would just arrive, eat and sleep, we actually still had the energy to walk around in the cold winter breeze. 

Here was a Christmassy shot. Christmas was already in the air and we loved it!

Day 12 road trip stats:
number of major attractions: 3
total mileage: 268 miles

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